Best High School Team: Tenacious perseverance against long odds

The final squad from the Richmond High football team

Way back in March, the community showed up for the Richmond High School football team. The athletics department got clobbered, again, by budget cuts, but this time, an outpouring of cash — thank you, Jerry Rice and the Oakland Raiders — covered the team’s expenses. All this for a squad that had lost 39 games in a row due to a roster of perennially academic ineligible players. In the fall the team won its first two games — start writing that script, Hollywood! But then vandals broke into the gear shed and ran off with the team’s shoulderpads and helmets. Cancel script. The community chipped in yet again — get me rewrite! — and the team returned to the field. Game on. But by that time, several players had quit. Others failed to make the grades. The news crews focused on the reliable destitution that is Richmond. But nine players remained. They’d stuck it out, made their grades, and showed up for coach Lee Fletcher’s final meeting, even though they’d been forced to forfeit the final two games of the season. That’s the definition of teamwork. We praise them.

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